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LEAVING THE NEST

You may not know the name Caroll Spinney, but chances are he guided you through childhood.

The man who gave life to Big Bird & Oscar the Grouch is retiring after calling “Sesame Street” home for nearly a half century.

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Behind the Beak

  • Carol Spinney (84) joined “Sesame Street” at its start in ’69.
  • Originally was asked to play Big Bird as “a funny, dumb, country yokel,” but a few episodes in, Spinney suggested he be played “like a child” who “can learn with the kids.”
  • Met his wife of 45 years while working on the show in 1973.

 

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“Before I came to ‘Sesame Street,’ I didn’t feel like what I was doing was very important. Big Bird helped me find my purpose. Even as I step down from my roles, I feel I will always be Big Bird. And even Oscar, once in a while!”

Caroll Spinney, who was hand-picked by Jim Henson to join the cast, has been recognized for his work with 6 Emmy Awards, 2 Grammy Awards, & Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006.
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Did You Know?

  • Oscar the Grouch was orange in Season 1. After a vacation in the swamp, he came back green.
  • When the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded mid-flight in 1986, NASA had originally wanted Big Bird on it, but the plan was shelved.
  • “Sesame Street” was almost called “123AvenueB” or “Fun Street.”
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“Sesame” Set to Turn 50

  • Idea began at a NYC dinner party to use TV to educate kids.
  • First episode aired Nov. 10, 1969.
  • In 1981, gov’t stopped funding “Sesame Street” so the show turned to licensing.
  • Inked 5-season deal with HBO in 2015.
  • Adapted adding online programs, but remains longest running children’s TV show of all time.
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Playing Big Bird, standing 8 feet 2 inches, all these years has been physical challenging. Spinney stopped in 2015 after developing problems with balance, but remained the voice. Big Bird will now be played by Matt Vogel, Spinney's apprentice since 1996.

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EXCLUSIVE “EGOT”

It’s show business’s ultimate accomplishment: winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar & Tony.

Only 15 people in history have done it…
3 of them did so last night.

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Entertainment History

John Legend, Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice achieved “EGOT” status each winning an Emmy for Jesus Christ Superstar Live.

Webber & Rice won an Oscar for Evita, multiple Grammys & Tonys.

Legend has won 10 Grammys, an Oscar for his song in Selma & a Tony for co-producing Jitney.

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A “Miami Vice” Connection

“EGOT” became a thing after Philip Michael Thomas (a.k.a. Detective Rico Tubbs) pronounced his plan to win all 4 awards within 5 years.

He even emblazoned a gold medallion with “EGOT” and wore it.

That was back in 1984. He has not won any of the awards – or been nominated.

 

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Who’s Got an EGOT?

  • Robert Lopez: The Book of Mormon & Frozen songwriter has double EGOT status with 2 of each. Lopez & Legend are the youngest to achieve EGOT status.
  • Richard Rodgers: Composer of Hammerstein fame was 1st EGOT.
  • Audrey Hepburn: Only posthumous EGOT.
  • Whoopi Goldberg: 1st Black EGOT.
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There are 5 others with "unofficial" EGOT status: those who won thanks to an honorary award vs. in competition with others. For more on who has accomplished the impressive EGOT feat, read on here.

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FORTNITE

 

 

More than a video game – now a bonafide phenomenon with more than 45M players worldwide – and it’s free.

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What Is Fortnite Anyway?

  • Online brawl where 100 players leap out of a plane on to an island & fight until 1 person is left.
  • Hidden around the island are weapons & defense items.
  • As game goes on, playable area shrinks; forcing players closer.
  • Last survivor is the winner.
  • Epic Games just released Season 5.
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Why It Matters

  • Huge hit: made $300M+ in June.
  • Free to play, but users may upgrade cosmetic items for fun.
  • Personalization: add-ons help users express themselves (i.e. play as a sniper or as a clown.)
  • Multiple device play: console, handheld device & computer.
  • Group play: not super violent, attracting both sexes & can be played among friends.
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Heard of Flossing?
(And, no, not your teeth.)

  • 2018’s go-to dance move is all thanks to Fortnite.
  • During Fortnite, players can bust some dance moves to taunt an opponent, celebrate, or for fun.
  • To floss, you swing your hips frantically in the opposite direction of your arms & back again.

 

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The Fortnite player to know? "Ninja" who's real name is Tyler Blevins. 27-year-old streams his games online, raking in $500K A MONTH. Rapper Drake even challenged Ninja to a game & 6M people tuned in. Click to watch him in action.

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IS YOUNG LOVE…ETERNAL?

Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Cardi B…
all young celebrities choosing their spouses early.

Will it last? 

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“But They’re So Young…”

Singer Justin Bieber (24) engaged to model Hailey Baldwin (21).

Singer Ariana Grande (25) engaged to Saturday Night Live comedian Pete Davidson (24).

Entertainer/Rapper Cardi B (25) married hip hop artist “Offset” (26).

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What Research Says:

  • Divorce rates within the first five years of marriage dramatically decrease if you marry between the ages of 25 – 35…but increase if you marry younger OR older.
  • Higher success rates of marriage for couple committed (not necessarily married) AFTER age 23-years-old; 60% divorce rate before 23 vs approx. 30% divorce rate after.
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“…older marriages now have higher divorce rates than those marrying 28-32. I didn’t see this 20 years ago.  The mystery is why this has happened.”

Pro. Nicholas H. Wolfinger to SmartHER News. Wolfinger has extensively researched marriage & divorce. His work shows success rates for marriage increase if you "wait to get married, but not too long."
Click Here: His Take
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What’s “normal” marrying age in U.S.A?

  • In 2017, the oldest age for first marriages recorded in U.S.:
    Women = 27.4 years-old
    Men = 29.5 years-old
  • Median marrying age in 1947 (when data started being collected every year until present time): Women: 20.5 & Men: 23.7 (Census).
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Marriage rates in America have dropped in recent years; Divorce rates have risen. Data is mixed on whether thats due to "cohabitation" without a ring & a date. A great new article addresses the data thoroughly - it's a must read:

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Homeless To Hollywood?

 

 

 

 

“In a world full of De Niros,
be a Pratt”

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ICYMI:

“God is real. God loves you. God wants the best for you, believe that. I do.”

Actor Chris Pratt, acceptance speech for MTV's Generation Award. In his "9 rules from Chris Pratt" speech, he also advised about learning to pray and bathroom etiquette.
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His Roots:

  • Washington State native.
  • Mom bagged groceries. Dad worked as a miner.
  • He wrestled in high school.
  • Dropped out of community college studying acting and eventually moved to Hawaii & lived in a van on the beach at 19.
  • “Discovered” working as a waiter for Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant.
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“He asked what I was doing that night, and I was honest. I said, ‘My friend’s inside buying me alcohol… He said, ‘Jesus told me to talk to you…’ At that moment I was like, I think I have to go with this guy. He took me to church. Over the next few days I surprised my friends by declaring that I was going to change my life.”

Chris Pratt, Vanity Fair, about the moment his life changed randomly meeting a man named Henry in Maui.
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Pratt’s Path

  • Recent movie: Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom – part of Jurassic World series – earned one of top opening wkds of the year.
  • Pratt gained 40lbs working on sitcom, Park & Rec, and was passed over for roles because of his weight. Now he’s one of America’s biggest action stars.
  • Pratt has a 5-year-old son Jack & divorced from actress Anna Farris.
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Pratt has talked faith before - including at the Teen Choice Awards in 2017: “I would not be here with the ease and grace I have in my heart without my lord and savior, Jesus Christ.” Pratt highlights his charity work on his instagram feed: @prattprattpratt

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THE REAL MR. ROGERS

He was a man in a cardigan who accepted you just the way you are. But how much do you know about Fred Rogers?

A new documentary pulls back the curtain on the unlikely TV star – 50 years after “Neighborhood” aired.

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Yes, He Was THAT Nice.

“The greatest thing we can do is show people they are loved and capable of loving.”

  • Rogers was a Protestant minister, composer & student of behavior.
  • When the TV was introduced, he saw the need to make it a tool to help children.
  • Rogers responded to every fan letter – over 1 million of them.
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He Worked Tirelessly.

“If we in public TV can only make it clear that feelings are mentionable & manageable, we will have done a great service for mental health.”

  • Up before 5AM, the vegetarian, who didn’t smoke or drink, would swim laps before work.
  • He wrote scripts, songs, created the characters & puppet voices – all of which were some facet of his personality.
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He Was Really Very Funny.

“I would like to do a program for people who are just about to go to sleep… We’ve heard that this slow-paced voice of mine can put people to sleep. So why not use it in that way?”

  • Loved to get a laugh telling jokes or talking in puppet voices at home.
  • Monty Python fan.
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The Cardigan Was Special

“I guess that’s the best thing about things. They remind you of people.”

  • Many of the two dozen he wore were knitted by his mother.
  • He wore one every day as part of the comforting ritual that opened the show.
  • One is on display at the Smithsonian.
Watch him tell you.
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The documentary "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" isn't the only upcoming movie about Fred Rogers. Click to learn which Oscar winner will play Mr. Rogers on the big screen.

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“We Live in a Glorious Moment in History.”

 

 

Janet Jackson, 52, took the stage for her 1st performance in nearly a decade before receiving Billboard’s Icon Award, a 1st for a black woman.

SEE: She's STILL got it
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Bruno Mars introduced a montage video of her impressive career, spanning 4 decades.

The video touched on her family’s humble beginnings in Gary, Indiana, her foray into acting in the 1970s, & her turn to music at age 16.

Jackson hit the stage in a sparkling gold sweatshirt dress and shiny gold thigh-high shoes singing “Nasty”, “If” & “Throb.”

 

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“For all our challenges, we live at a glorious moment in history. It’s a moment when women have made it clear that we no longer will be controlled, manipulated or abused. I stand with those women and those men equally outraged by discrimination. …I thank God for giving me the precious energy that lets me live my life as an artist who every single day seeks to expand my capacity to love.”

Janet Jackson's Acceptance Speech
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Jackson joins a group of iconic winners of Billboard's award which began in 2011, including Neil Diamond (2011), Stevie Wonder (2012), Prince (2013), Jennifer Lopez (2014), Céline Dion (2016) & Cher (2017). 

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Prince To Prince

‘Black Panther’ Heads To House of Saud

Two weeks after the Saudi Crown Prince met with the head of Walt Disney in Los Angeles…a Disney movie, featuring a groundbreaking prince, headlines as the first movie shown in Saudi Arabia in 35 years.

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Why Now?

  • 32-year-old Saudi Crown Prince recently toured U.S., meeting the most powerful Americans in business and politics.
  • Movie theaters are part of Prince’s “Vision 2030” plan to reform Saudi Arabia & diversify economy.
  • Movie industry estimated to bring in $30B & 30,000 jobs by 2030.
click here: Catch-Up
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Money & Politics

  • Majority of the Saudi kingdom under age of 25.
  • 32-year-old Crown Prince is a millennial himself and could rule for the rest of our lifetimes.
  • Domestic Priority: HIGH unemployment (esp for youth).
  • Economy: Dependent on oil.
  • Reforms geared towards the young but keeping the Saudi royal kingdom intact.
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Something To Consider:

  • Saudi Arabia may allow American movies, or partner w/U.S. in certain areas of foreign policy, but its not a democracy.
  • Saudi Arabia home to 2 holiest sites in Islam – important to entire Muslim world – millions make pilgrimages to sites.
  • Other Muslim nations like Bahrain and United Arab Emirates *already* show movies.
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So Why Outlaw Movies?

  • Saudi Arabia outlawed movies in 1979 because of a strict adherence to conservative Islam.
  • Saudi Arabia is still an Islamic monarchy.  Movies will undergo censorship of some sort – unclear how severe.
  • Experts ask if “reforms” are real or simply superficial.
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“Films are slightly edited and modified to reflect sensitivity to the local culture here in the region. But even with those modest edits — you can imagine what they are, sexuality and nudity are out — but we believe that those edits will be quite modest.”

Adam Aron, AMC Chief Executive, to CNBC April 18, 2018. He said the company "rushed in" when they heard of an opportunity in Saudi Arabia.
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AMC plan to open 40 theaters over the next 5 years in Saudi Arabia. Next movies? "Rampage" & "The Avengers"

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TOP FIGHTER…
FACING CHARGES

29-year-old Irish Fighter Conor McGregor under arrest in NYC.

One of the biggest names in international sports…the first UFC fighter to hold two world titles simultaneously…now charged with multiple counts of assault.

Watch Attack Here:
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UFC President Dana White called it “the most disgusting thing that has ever happened in history of the company.”

McGregor & his entourage attacked a bus full of fighters, throwing chairs, trash cans, and anything else that wasn’t pinned down, injuring several fighters and bystanders.

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Will Face Charges…
Instead Of A Comeback.

“If you beat me, I’ll say fair enough and I’ll come back better and get you the next time. You can’t keep me down. I learn from everything. Every experience makes me better.”

McGregor to the Los Angeles Times, August 2017
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Although McGregor (21-3) hasn't fought in the UFC since he won the lightweight belt in November 2016, he reportedly made $140M from his August 2017 boxing match against Floyd Mayweather.

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Fixer Upper: Final Farewell

“One of mama’s and I’s first dates, I climbed up a magnolia tree and I pulled off a magnolia bloom and I gave it to her.”

Chip Gaines, 1/2 of the 'Magnolia' empire, speaking to his children 'Fixer Upper' Final Episode, April 3, 2018.
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Background:

Show finished almost 5 years to the day of its debut (May 2013).

Definition of overnight success.
First episode? 1.9M viewers.

Averaged 14.5 M viewers weekly.

Irony? Chip & Joanna Gaines don’t own a TV.

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Why Is Fixer Upper SUCH A Big Deal…in TV?

Show gained viewers as others lost.

  • Oscars lowest viewership in 40 yrs.
  • Super Bowl lowest viewers since 2009.
  • Important network morning shows all losing viewers year-over-year. In fact, Fixer Upper often beat the TV giants in viewership.
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‘Fixer Upper’ Success

Talent & Good Timing

  • Americans expected to spend more this year on home renovations (up 7.5% to more than $340 B) ~ due in part to rebuilding from terrible natural disasters.
  • Sales on homes already built (ripe for remodel) up year-over-year.
  • Overall, healthy real estate market.
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Chip & Joanna Gaines have big plans - including a new baby in July (child #5) - Read more on what's next (including a 'Magnolia Kids' line)

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Hollywood Heartbreak

“…love is a beautiful adventure that is taking us on different paths for now.”

Jenna Dewan Tatum & Channing Tatum announce split on social media, April 2, 2018. Despite the headlines, Jenna & Channing are the exception, not the rule.
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Exception: Not The Rule

Jenna Dewan & Channing Tatum married for nearly 9 years.

Recent data shows the chances of a marriage lasting at least a decade is about 70%.

Chances of a marriage lasting MORE than 20 years is slightly better than 50%.

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Hollywood vs. Reality

Divorce Rates Down (Slightly)

  • Divorce rates have dropped in America in recent years…Marriage rates have dropped too.
  • Marriage rate: Nearly 7 per 1,000 Americans (CDC).
  • Divorce rate: Just over 3 per 1,000 Americans (CDC).
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Something To Consider:

“…women who cohabited with their first husband—regardless of whether they were engaged when they began living together—had lower probabilities of marriage survival at 20 years than women who did not cohabit before marriage with their first husband.”

National Health Statistics Report, 2012
Report
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Despite the announcement of a divorce, Channing Tatum *just* wrote this about his wife:

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Total Domination

‘Roseanne’ Rocks Ratings

1 out of 5 American viewers tuned in for ABC’s return of ‘Roseanne’ – approximately 18M.

“Text from john goodman who is on a plane today: “HURRAY FOR THE CONNORS!'” – @therealroseanne

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Distinct Departure

“Roseanne was pitched as a timely revival, one that put star Roseanne Barr’s support for president Donald Trump in the narrative at a time when most scripted TV is decidedly liberal-skewing.”

Hollywood Reporter, March 28, 2018

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Flyover Power

‘Roseanne’ Reboot’s
Highest-Rated Markets:

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Cincinnati, Ohio

Kansas City, Missouri

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Comparatively Speaking

  • The ‘Will & Grace’ reunion started when the main actors filmed a 10-minute video to support presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016.
  • NBC launched an official revival of the series in 2017 – 10M viewers watched.
  • ‘Will & Grace’ was just re-upped for a 3rd season; 4M viewers on average per show.
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"Roseanne"s popularity offers advertisers valuable real estate. How much will a 30-sec ad cost you? $175,000. Check out source page for more on where "Roseanne" dominated:

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